Oh deer

Our property is bordered along one side by a creek. The creek is bordered by thick brambles of invasive blackberry bushes, which effectively fenced in our dogs. The ones that we raised from puppyhood, anyway.

A few weeks after we got Mia, whom we believe to have lived a tough life on the streets, I was surprised to come home from a quick jaunt to Radio Shack to find the dogs sniffing around the front yard. Rob had left them in the backyard, but they’d gotten out. Impossible! We have a cedar fence on one side and those blackberries on the other.

Later, they were out back while I was getting something from my car and who should come trotting out from around the house, on the blackberry side, but Leo. Busted. I’m sure Mia was the one who showed Leo he could get out that way, but she was smart enough not to do it in front of me. They had created a little tunnel through the blackberries to the path along the side of the house.

We put up a few chain link panels to block the path, and were amused when they kept using the tunnel as a little hidey hole. Then, Leo, who does not swim, suddenly got brave and started going all the way down to the creek and splashing around in there. Probably he can’t get into too much trouble down there, but I worried because I couldn’t see him and would have a hard time getting to him should he need to be rescued.

One of many pathways to the creek the dogs have burrowed.

Emboldened, he started rustling around in the bushes in the northeast corner of the property, where a chain link fence separates us from the freeway. We put up a few more chain link panels to close some soil erosion gaps that a brave doggie could squeeze through and get himself schmooshed. My real concern though, is that he could wander north through a woodsy patch and then over the creek and off into some neighbor’s yard, and maybe to REI or the movie theater or something.

He’d disappear into that patch of bushes, but usually come back when I called him. I haven’t been worried at all about Mia running off, because she knows what a good thing she’s got going here. One night a few weeks ago, though, she kept racing into those bushes, and not coming back willingly when I called. I’d finally coax her out only to have her race back in. Figured there was some kind of animal in there tempting her.

The next day, I tromped through the bushes with my doggies and discovered tufts of  brown and black fur in the blackberry thorns, and a clearing that would have been way fun to play in when I was a kid, or if I were a dog.

The clearing

Rob and I fastened the last four of our spare chain link panels across the opening to the clearing, knowing full well that the dogs could still get around them, but hoping at least to discourage them or slow them down.

Can you see the chain link?
How about now?

A few days ago, they didn’t come when I called, so I went up and found them sniffing around on the wrong side of the chain link. “You dopes, you figured out how to get out, but now you can’t get back in?”

Apparently, deer have the opposite problem. The other day, the dogs went bonkers at the back door because this guy was wandering around out there.

The chain link in this photo is the barrier to the freeway.

He walked around our studio building, then back toward the clearing, which I presume was the direction from whence he came. After Rob took the above picture, the deer walked up to the chain link, then barreled through, flipping the panels on their sides and running under them.

So, uh, what now?

I went up and righted the chain link this morning. Trying the same thing that didn’t work before. That’s the definition of insanity, isn’t it?

Dogs, if this were your playground, would you try to escape?

Published by Kari Neumeyer

Writer, editor, dog mom, ovarian cancer survivor

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